Having history with a product can be both a good and bad thing from a review stand point. In early 2007, when I was in SOI (School of Infantry), ESS glasses were issued to every Marine for training. These glasses were nothing special, yet I didn’t expect them to be anything more than a frame with ballistic lenses. The frames of these glasses were very flimsy, and would often bend to the point of almost being unwearable. The lenses were clear, offering no protection from the sun. Also, due to high use, the lenses were often scratched, rendering it hard to see. Needless to say, I had a bad taste in the mouth for ESS brand. Here we are in 2012, and the ESS I knew is long gone. Enter the ESS Crossbow and Crossbow Suppressor models.
Comfort Under Pressure:
There are many options when it comes to ear protection, yet more and more shooters are opting to go with the cupped style these days due to increased hearing protection. Comfort when combining eye and ear protection is
always a struggle when wearing cupped style ear protection. This stems from ordinary eye protection reaching behind the ear, creating uncomfortable pressure points when wearing cupped ear protection. ESS eliminates this with their Suppressor model of the Crossbow eye pro. The Crossbow Suppressor model was designed with cupped ear protection in mind, this design feature is incredibly convenient and comfortable when wearing cupped ear protection. The 1/16″ thick stems are virtually unnoticeable while wearing ear protection. They also help prevent broken seals in the cupped style of ear protection, created by standard eye protection stems due to their thickness. The stems of the standard Crossbow however, are contoured for a more comfortable fit when wearing bud style ear protection.
The standard Crossbows also provide more structural integrity to the frame of the glasses – more specifically to the stems. This advantage allows the user to be able to wear the glasses without an elastic band, while not having to worry about the glasses falling off. The stems also provide comfort to the user with a small amount of padding on the stems where they would sit on the ear.
Easy Lens Change:
Many eye pro companies don’t offer the ability to change lenses, and if they do, it always seems an impossible task. The ESS Crossbow series offers easy lens changing capabilities with their signature Dead Bolt Lens Lock. With a simple flick of the quick release lever located in the center of the frame, the Crossbow lens will snap out of place allowing the user to insert any of the ESS colored lenses.
As I stated before, when I was first introduced to ESS, a bad taste was put into my mouth. Not only was the pair I was issued an over used pair of eye pro, it was one that had already been abused. After using the ESS Crossbows, I have a new respect for the company and have come to realize ESS lenses have come a long way in the past five years. Their no-scratch exterior layer and no fog interior allow any operator to not only use but abuse the lenses. ESS also sent Front Site Post their newest lens in Hi-Def Bronze. The lens offers the perfect amount of protection from the sun when operating in direct light, while also offering a seemingly improved sense of vision in low light.
Although the lenses are easily removed from the frame of the glasses, you will run into some difficulty when attempting to remove the nose piece from the lens. Its important to remember that the lens is ballistic, so a little force wont hurt. The problem you will most likely run into is that the nose piece seems fairly fragile, and the padding of the nose piece is not attached to the plastic portion very well and if tampered with too much, may fall off.
I cannot stress enough that I had given up on this brand prior to getting my hands on the ESS Crossbow line. I am not a person who can be easily swayed, and that being said, for me to do a complete reassessment of ESS and their products with the result of having a new respect for the company, that speaks wonders on their behalf. There are many varieties of eye pro on the market, many of which are very similar. Every consumer has their own flavor. I have not seen very many models like the Crossbow Suppressor, and I commend ESS for being innovative on that front. That being said, if you are looking for comfort, protection, and innovation, ESS’ Crossbow line may be for you.